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Thread: Just How Good Are The Zags This Year?

  1. #1
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    Default Just How Good Are The Zags This Year?

    Are we bound for the history books? Some [https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/30611941/is-mark-best-team-ranking-top-gonzaga-squads-20-years} have compared us to Indiana in 1976 or a team of the decade.

    One Sport's Writer from yesterday [Jan 17] is impressed but not very much, Zach Braziller of the NY Post
    https://nypost.com/2021/01/17/gonzag...is-just-silly/

    "But Baylor is the lone team in the country ranked in the top five in offensive and defensive efficiency, not Gonzaga. They will be better prepared by March to win it all, too, by playing in the rugged Big 12 compared to the series of glorified scrimmages the Zags will use as preparation.
    [bold letters mine]

    Or this quote "The ball rarely stops moving, and the quality of their play on the break limits over-reliance on shooting the three. This is as balanced a college offense as we’ve seen in recent memory." from Jeremy Woo from Sports Illustrated.

    https://www.si.com/college/2021/01/1...aylor-michigan


    From Fox sports: https://www.foxsports.com/stories/co...-run-the-table

    It’s how the Zags are doing it that’s so terrifying. The poise with which they dismantle highly-ranked opponents borders on "bizarre" ... and I don’t say that just because Drew Timme’s weird celebrations feel a lot like a lion playing with its food.

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    As good as they want to be.

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    Perfect descriptions.....including the "scrimmages" dart.

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    Default Talent

    I love Baylor's team, and I by no means believe the Zags are invincible, but GU simply has more more NBA talent than Baylor does. It's not like the Zags suck on D. They are 13th in defense at kenpom.com, which incorporates strength of schedule. That is enough to win it all when you factor in their offense and talent. The WCC argument is B.S. as the Zags are one of only 5 teams in the expanded bracket era to make 5 straight sweet 16's or better in 5 straights years. And it would've been 6 straight if the tourney had been played least year. GU would have been the 2nd number one overall seed and played its first two games in Spokane Arena last year. Typical East Coast biased writer.

    I still believe in TALENT, and GU just has more of it than the Bears. Plus, Few just has Scott Drew's number in head to head coaching battles.

    That all being said, not team is INVINCIBLE. NO ONE. But I think most college basketball analysts (except guys who are in bed when GU plays its games) are now acknowledging that this Gonzaga team is very special and different from other teams they've had. Which, again, does not mean they are INVINCIBLE.

    Unfortunately, until Few and GU win the national title, there will still be doubters. It's time to get the job done and hang a banner. Especially when you have a team like this.
    Last edited by CDC84; 01-19-2021 at 06:30 AM.

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    Zags need to play hard for 40 minutes. Any let down to a top 5 team will be a L. Baylor plays hard on both ends of the court. We have the talent now we need full effort from everyone with each assignment.
    America's Team!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CDC84 View Post
    I love Baylor's team, and I by no means believe the Zags are invincible, but GU simply has more more NBA talent than Baylor does. It's not like the Zags suck on D. They are 13th in defense at kenpom.com, which incorporates strength of schedule. That is enough to win it all when you factor in their offense and talent. The WCC argument is B.S. as the Zags are one of only 5 teams in the expanded bracket era to make 5 straight sweet 16's or better in 5 straights years. And it would've been 6 straight if the tourney had been played least year. GU would have been the 2nd number one overall seed and played its first two games in Spokane Arena last year. Typical East Coast biased writer.

    I still believe in TALENT, and GU just has more of it than the Bears. Plus, Few just has Scott Drew's number in head to head coaching battles.

    That all being said, not team is INVINCIBLE. NO ONE. But I think most college basketball analysts (except guys who are in bed when GU plays its games) are now acknowledging that this Gonzaga team is very special and different from other teams they've had. Which, again, does not mean they are INVINCIBLE.

    Unfortunately, until Few and GU win the national title, there will still be doubters. It's time to get the job done and hang a banner. Especially when you have a team like this.

    It is the NY Post. That paper is garbage on every level. It is a shade above being National Enquirer. 75% of the paper is ads and content is trite
    "And Morrison? He did what All-Americans do. He shot daggers in the daylight and stole a win." - Steve Kelley (Seattle Times)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandZagFan View Post
    It is the NY Post. That paper is garbage on every level. It is a shade above being National Enquirer. 75% of the paper is ads and content is trite
    I just emailed the author:

    Hi Zach,

    Zag alum here. I don't have a major disagreement with you, I think it's a bit early to be anointing anyone...Selection Sunday is nearly eight weeks away.

    I do take issue with your unwarranted shot at the WCC. There would have been 3 teams in the tourney last year: Gonzaga, BYU, and St. Marys. No doubt, there's a few weak sisters, but you'll find that everywhere.

    You're exhibiting journalistic laziness with that comment, too. Be honest with me: how many Gonzaga or WCC games have you watched in the last 12 months?

    Consider this: Virginia, the defending national champion and "class of the ACC", is 0-2 against the WCC this year.

    Please accept my thanks, however, for a column that mentions the Zags. I live near Dallas, and there was absolutely no coverage of the GU-Virginia game on 12/26. I emailed reporters and columnists at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Dallas Morning News when the matchup was announced.

    Silly me, for thinking that a game in DFW between the #1 team in the country against the defending national champion would earn mention in the local papers. lol

    Best regards from Texas,
    TZF

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    I will stick my neck out and make my prediction.
    1. we win the WCC championship with no WCC losses
    2. we win the National Championship and in most of the close games Suggs will be The Man, the go to guy in desperate situations

    even by KenPoms stats, I will lose my bet and my money (wasn't it 43% likely?), my only consolation is that when my head is chopped off the block you all will be as unhappy as I am about it. i do think if we played the TX tech team that beat us, we would beat them now because the ball handling on this team is a level above.

    If I am right we will make big time history.
    I wish i knew how to make a poll on this board, to see what people would predict, I am sure I would not be alone but i would love to see the distribution

    take it all
    lose in NC game
    make Final Four
    Elite Eight

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    It doesn't matter what the Zags do, some writers are never going to accept the fact that they are really good. Most of these guys that write about how bad the WCC is, couldn't even tell you who plays in the league, much less if they can play or not. BYU and St.Mary's are always competitive. I guess they forgot that San Francisco, a middle of the pack team from this so called terrible conference beat Virginia out of the mighty ACC. Like CDC84 said the Zags went ti 5 straight sweet 16's, and the only thing that kept it from being 6 was that there was no tournament. How many teams from these so called super conferences have done that ? I hate to say it, but I don't think the ncaa will ever allow a small school to win the ncaa tournament. This was pretty clear with the Karnowski team against North Carolina, and the Hashimara team against Texas Tech. The ncaa is all about making money, and they can make more if one of the big boys win the tournament. In order for the Zags to win it they will have to be much better than everyone they play, not better, but much better. If they get a fair shake this Zag team can win it all. That have the most talented team, and with a fair shake they can win it, but will the ncaa allow it ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOtherGreatOne View Post
    It doesn't matter what the Zags do, some writers are never going to accept the fact that they are really good. Most of these guys that write about how bad the WCC is, couldn't even tell you who plays in the league, much less if they can play or not. BYU and St.Mary's are always competitive. I guess they forgot that San Francisco, a middle of the pack team from this so called terrible conference beat Virginia out of the mighty ACC. Like CDC84 said the Zags went ti 5 straight sweet 16's, and the only thing that kept it from being 6 was that there was no tournament. How many teams from these so called super conferences have done that ? I hate to say it, but I don't think the ncaa will ever allow a small school to win the ncaa tournament. This was pretty clear with the Karnowski team against North Carolina, and the Hashimara team against Texas Tech. The ncaa is all about making money, and they can make more if one of the big boys win the tournament. In order for the Zags to win it they will have to be much better than everyone they play, not better, but much better. If they get a fair shake this Zag team can win it all. That have the most talented team, and with a fair shake they can win it, but will the ncaa allow it ?
    Disagree completely. The NCAA is rooting for the Zags. They are a national draw from two angles. Those that love the story and those that can’t stand the upstarts. They are approaching Duke levels of love/hate status and people on both sides tune in. Whether they watch to see the Zags win or lose doesn’t make a difference as long as they are drawn to the spectacle.

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    I think they are a special team that is a cut above, one that could go down in history ... to a certain extent.

    Though they're a cut above, the cut isn't that wide with Baylor, it pretty much is with everyone else (which doesn't mean we can't be beaten), but to say there are the Zags "and everyone else" seems very silly to me. It seems the more honest thing for everyone to say is that the Zags are the best team in the nation and only Baylor can claim to be close. That seems fair.

    I am just so wary of the undefeated thing but it does seem to be our regular season destiny this year - amazing given our non-conference.

    My biggest fear? The big damned asterisk that could, just "could," be beside every record and everything this year, "the COVID year" in which some teams played far fewer games, some teams played games without a full squad, games with no "true road games" all the excuses someone can make will be made by the haters.

    It doesn't mean it will be any less of an accomplishment for our guys, indeed it might be MORE of an accomplishment. It just means that it will be different than the usual season and I don't know how that will play out in history. It may mean nothing. It may be a big shadow. We'll know when we get there ten years from now.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
    Mark Twain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Markburn1 View Post
    Disagree completely. The NCAA is rooting for the Zags. They are a national draw from two angles. Those that love the story and those that can’t stand the upstarts. They are approaching Duke levels of love/hate status and people on both sides tune in. Whether they watch to see the Zags win or lose doesn’t make a difference as long as they are drawn to the spectacle.
    I hope you are right, but let me ask you this. When was the last time a small school won the ncaa tournament ? The Zags had the best team in 2017 and 2019, but did they win, no they did not. Those Zag teams were better than either North Carolina or Texas Tech, and were not allowed to win. I really hope you are right, but I believe the ncaa thinks that they can make more money by a big school winning the tournament.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandZagFan View Post
    It is the NY Post. That paper is garbage on every level. It is a shade above being National Enquirer. 75% of the paper is ads and content is trite


    WHAT !!!! It is the oldest paper in the Country....founded by Alexander Hamilton ......and owned by News Corp.....
    Last edited by bartruff1; 01-19-2021 at 07:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandZagFan View Post
    It is the NY Post. That paper is garbage on every level. It is a shade above being National Enquirer. 75% of the paper is ads and content is trite
    You could say that about most every newspaper out there, LIZF...except for the Spokesman-Review, of course.

    I do like Phil Mushnick, that old curmudgeon. He was nice enough to respond to a couple of emails I sent him. One of those emails was rather lengthy, as I'm prone to do...I thought it was a good primer on the Zags and the program, if I say so myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOtherGreatOne View Post
    I hope you are right, but let me ask you this. When was the last time a small school won the ncaa tournament ? The Zags had the best team in 2017 and 2019, but did they win, no they did not. Those Zag teams were better than either North Carolina or Texas Tech, and were not allowed to win. I really hope you are right, but I believe the ncaa thinks that they can make more money by a big school winning the tournament.
    IMO, the difference in this year's team and the 2017 and 2019 teams is the quality and depth of our backcourt. For example, Josh and Nigel were playing 32-35 minutes or more every game. Fatigue, mental or physical, could have played a factor in Nigel's woes at the FT line, going 4-8, when he shot 90 per cent up to that game.

    This year, our guards can come at you in waves. Joel, Jalen, Aaron, Andrew, and yes, Dom (given more experience) are all talented with good size. The football mentality that Jalen brings has shown to be an asset when playing physical power conference teams, and it's rubbed off on the others. Andrew has two years of SEC experience, and Aaron is a disruptor of opposing point guards. Then there's Joel, our Swiss Army knife, supreme filler of stat lines.

    Nothing has changed in the past week that changes my mind about this team. Did boredom set in? Don't know, but I can only surmise the difficulty in preparing for a conference opponent when you recently smoked the defending national champion. Has anyone noticed how Virginia has returned to its perch as "the class of the ACC"?

    What was the stat I saw last week? Something to the effect that since 2014, the Zags are 95-0 against conference foes not named BYU or SMC.

    The Zags just need to keep on growing, just like the old Derek & the Dominos song...though I prefer the cover by the Tedeschi-Trucks Band...Susan Tedeschi is simply incredible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOtherGreatOne View Post
    I hope you are right, but let me ask you this. When was the last time a small school won the ncaa tournament ? The Zags had the best team in 2017 and 2019, but did they win, no they did not. Those Zag teams were better than either North Carolina or Texas Tech, and were not allowed to win. I really hope you are right, but I believe the ncaa thinks that they can make more money by a big school winning the tournament.

    The best team doesn’t always win. Kentucky, Michigan, UNLV, Duke all lost when they had the best team in the country.

    Just curious. Why the heck would anyone want a school with limited regional appeal like Texas Tech to advance over a national brand like the Zags?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Markburn1 View Post
    The best team doesn’t always win. Kentucky, Michigan, UNLV, Duke all lost when they had the best team in the country.

    Just curious. Why the heck would anyone want a school with limited regional appeal like Texas Tech to advance over a national brand like the Zags?
    Just check who the referee in that game was. John Higgins, the same ref that stuck it to Kentucky in the Wisconsin game. Higgins was the one that beat the Zags that game against Texas Tech. Higgins is a Big 12 referee. Another reason is that the nca would rather pay that championship money to a big conference like the Big 12 than to the WCC. It is all about the big boys trying to bully the little guys out. The ncaa figures that the big boys will sell more merchandise than any small school, and you may not believe it but the Zags are just not looked at as one of the big boys by most of the country. I know most of these people don't even know who plays in the WCC, but that is just the way it is. They have heard the eastern writers tell them over and over how weak the WCC is, and how the Zags don't play anyone. I know this is bull hockey, but a big portion of this country doesn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DZ View Post
    I think they are a special team that is a cut above, one that could go down in history ... to a certain extent.

    Though they're a cut above, the cut isn't that wide with Baylor, it pretty much is with everyone else (which doesn't mean we can't be beaten), but to say there are the Zags "and everyone else" seems very silly to me. It seems the more honest thing for everyone to say is that the Zags are the best team in the nation and only Baylor can claim to be close. That seems fair.

    I am just so wary of the undefeated thing but it does seem to be our regular season destiny this year - amazing given our non-conference.

    My biggest fear? The big damned asterisk that could, just "could," be beside every record and everything this year, "the COVID year" in which some teams played far fewer games, some teams played games without a full squad, games with no "true road games" all the excuses someone can make will be made by the haters.

    It doesn't mean it will be any less of an accomplishment for our guys, indeed it might be MORE of an accomplishment. It just means that it will be different than the usual season and I don't know how that will play out in history. It may mean nothing. It may be a big shadow. We'll know when we get there ten years from now.
    - i appreciate what you're saying.
    - if you mean an * in the record book, i doubt it very much, unless the tournament is reduced to 32 or 48 games and thus 4 wins are needed to win, and/or say covid causes a head coach or a couple of starters to miss a game or games.
    - not that it suggests a 'tainted' championship but i think for the next several years, when this year is spoken about, it would be reasonable and expected that the commentary will include, 'that was the year teams played thru the covid virus.'
    - as you say we will see some 5-10 years down the road.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOtherGreatOne View Post
    Just check who the referee in that game was. John Higgins, the same ref that stuck it to Kentucky in the Wisconsin game. Higgins was the one that beat the Zags that game against Texas Tech. Higgins is a Big 12 referee. Another reason is that the nca would rather pay that championship money to a big conference like the Big 12 than to the WCC. It is all about the big boys trying to bully the little guys out. The ncaa figures that the big boys will sell more merchandise than any small school, and you may not believe it but the Zags are just not looked at as one of the big boys by most of the country. I know most of these people don't even know who plays in the WCC, but that is just the way it is. They have heard the eastern writers tell them over and over how weak the WCC is, and how the Zags don't play anyone. I know this is bull hockey, but a big portion of this country doesn't.
    Higgins is not a “Big 12” referee. He is an independent contractor. He may be at UCLA one night and Fayetteville Arkansas the next. Maybe Storrs, Connecticut or Madison, Wisconsin. He goes where he wants to, works more high profile games than most and always fills his calendar. College coaches give him high marks.

    Has he had bad games. Absolutely. But, he is evaluated after every game and grades out at the top of his profession on a regular basis.

    If you really think there is some kind of conspiracy to deny Gonzaga or whoever from attaining a national championship there would be no point in watching.

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    They are very good.

    But there are about 15 teams in the country that have a 20% chance or better in beating the Zags on a neutral floor.

    The good news is to win a title you only have to beat about 3 of those teams, maybe fewer.

    This team still has lots of areas to improve, individually and as a team.

    Individual development jumps can be made by Watson, Ballo, Harris, Strawther. Will they still be the SAME in late March as now, or improve?

    Can they win vs quality competition when the offense just plain doesnt have it? St. Mary's game is borderline answering this, because they were not high major athletes nor a top 50 KenPom team

    Can they win a football game vs the usual suspects? Not allowing the no-calls get to them, matching the physicality, manufacturing offense, winning a 65-60 game.

    Do they become way too perimeter shot-making oriented and forget to punch it inside enough to have good balance?

    Does too many WCC snoozers catch up with them when they reach the Sweet 16 range of the NCAAs, will they be able to turn themselves UP in gameplay to match what they knew they needed vs Kansas, Iowa etc.?

    Still plenty of Questions the coaching staff knows that need to be answered organically. I DO believe this team understands that, I know Kispert does, I think Suggs definitely knows what GREAT vs good enough to beat-Santa Clara looks like, and the team has it's own High Standard they are playing against.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOtherGreatOne View Post
    I hope you are right, but let me ask you this. When was the last time a small school won the ncaa tournament ? The Zags had the best team in 2017 and 2019, but did they win, no they did not. Those Zag teams were better than either North Carolina or Texas Tech, and were not allowed to win. I really hope you are right, but I believe the ncaa thinks that they can make more money by a big school winning the tournament.
    Villanova has had some unbelievable success in the tournament the last few years, not sure of the enrollment numbers but they have to qualify as a small school?

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    Villanova would qualify as small school as they only have a little more than 1000 students than GU, unless you categorize everyone in the Big East as big schools

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    Quote Originally Posted by FloridaZagFan View Post
    Villanova has had some unbelievable success in the tournament the last few years, not sure of the enrollment numbers but they have to qualify as a small school?
    I’d call them medium sized. 6700 UG/3100 grad. GU is 4800/2400 for perspective
    "And Morrison? He did what All-Americans do. He shot daggers in the daylight and stole a win." - Steve Kelley (Seattle Times)

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    I've watched parts of a few Baylor games and what stands out the most to me is the intensity they play with on both ends, especially at the start of games. They seem to overwhelm teams those first few minutes so you better be ready to play. They also rebound the heck out of the ball. GU has to come out with an intensity and fire that matches and run their offense crisply and defend the 3. My untrained eye seems to see Baylor fall into playing more one on one hero ball, but they also seem to be a good passing team when running the offense. I've watched a bit of Texas and want to watch Michigan as they tend to get great reviews. Move the ball, run in transition, and play tight D on the perimeter and I think we'd win more than we'd lose against Baylor.

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    Eh, they’re alright, I guess...

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